Spartan marches on, despite JCA setback

Apologies for it having gone a bit quiet on The DEW Line over the last week or so, while I was on the road and Dave took in some well-earned R&R. But the good news is that, just like Obama, we’re back.

I made a first visit to Alenia Aermacchi’s Turin-Caselle visit last week, in support of our Italy special package for the next issue of Flight International. I’ll keep my powder dry for now on what’s in my extended article, but I just posted a scene-setter on Flightglobal with some news about the C-27J Spartan.

Some thought that Washington’s 2011 decision to halt its Joint Cargo Aircraft programme after only 21 aircraft might be catastrophic for the transport (manufacturer-supplied image below), but the company line from Turin was more optimistic.

c-27j grass 560.jpg
The last four currently-contracted JCA platforms are in final assembly now, along with the final two of seven for Romania’s air force, and the fuselage for Australia’s first of 10 examples will be arriving within the next couple of weeks. Another undisclosed buyer has signed up recently. Yes, I know who it is, but I’m sworn to not reveal it. Heck, that’s what Google’s for, folks.

It was interesting to compare the C-27J assembly activity, which takes place in adjacent hangars, with that of Airbus Military’s airy building for the CN-235 and C-295 in Seville. But as a biker, I like the fact that they have to wheelie the Spartan out once its vertical tail has been installed, because the ceiling beams are too low. Ride on!


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